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Mifanwy Kaiser, founder and Executive Director of Tebot Bach, Inc., retired after 32 years of teaching grades 7-college and in men's prisons. Mifanwy was a nominee for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year, received The Kentucky Secretary of Corrections Award for Outstanding Service (her students set, then broke the state record twice for the number of GEDs issued through the prison system.) Mifanwy has written poetry since she was in the first grade and has used poetry as a teaching tool since 1970. The founding of Tebot Bach comes out of her Welsh background, her love for poetry and her proven belief in the power of poetry to transform life experiences, regardless of age or socio-economic standing. Tebot Bach publishes Spillway, the yearly California poetry anthology, Southern California Poetix, and books by individual poets, produces readings and workshops for the public, schools, and venues which serve marginalized populations such as battered women's shelters, homeless shelters, AIDS hospices, juvenile institutions, and prisons. She hosts the Five Penny Poet reading series, a Tebot Bach program, with Paul Suntup, Mindy Nettifee, Steve Ramirez, and Dima Hilal. 


The stone, the gray...
will a poem float to me?--I mean,

when the poem floats
in that time between dusk and dinner?

Is it like the flash of light?

Or the cloudbank in late afternoon
as the sun cuts across the Sound?

The bright and shining in the trees
the halo of fog?

When the nurse tried
to turn him over,

Uncle Ken cried out, "No! don't touch me!"
And then he was dead. What

is it like to live in that caesura

between breath
and not breath?

Blue Vase

She brought flowers
to my classroom
early this morning
arranged in a royal blue vase:
the stargazers among the ferns,
petals arched back
toward their stems
stamens curled upward
open mouths
waiting for things
terrifying or sweet.

© 2003 Mifanwy Kaiser


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